New prescription monitoring program will help combat drug abuse
Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane today thanked the legislature for passing a measure (S.B. 1180) that would improve the Commonwealth’s currently insufficient prescription drug monitoring program and provide the medical and law enforcement communities with the necessary tools to better identify potential abusers of controlled substances.
Prescription drug abuse and overdoses have escalated to a full-blown crisis for families and communities across the Commonwealth, and Pennsylvania has the seventh highest drug overdose mortality rate in the United States.
“Thanks to the legislature, Pennsylvania’s program will help us save lives and keep prescription drugs out of the wrong hands,” said Attorney General Kane.
Senate Bill 1180 will eliminate the state’s existing program, which only monitored Schedule II controlled substances, and establish in its place the Achieving Better Care by Monitoring All Prescriptions (ABC-MAP) program, to also include Schedules III, IV and V. Prescribing practitioners will now be provided with relevant information concerning all the highly-addictive drugs that have recently been prescribed to their patients.
The new program will enhance law enforcement’s and the medical community’s ability to identify the illegal diversion of highly-addictive prescription drugs.
Attorney General Kane said that from the time a pharmaceutical is manufactured, it is her office’s responsibility to account for the drug as it makes its way, legally, to the patient. Diversion occurs when that chain is broken.
“Prescription drug abuse poses just as much of a threat as the use of traditional narcotics, because abusers often turn to even deadlier drugs like heroin,” said Attorney General Kane. “Our intelligence shows that for nine out of 10 heroin addicts, addiction began with prescription drugs.”